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AG Sessions, Patriotic Immigration Groups React to Hawaii Judge Taking Teeth Out of SCOTUS-Approved Travel Ban

Outraged reactions poured in Friday to federal Judge Derrick Watson’s order effectively nullifying the Supreme Court’s reinstatement of President Trump’s travel ban by holding the administration’s definition of a “bone fide relationship” invalid.

Watson, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, ruled Thursday that narrowly interpreting the term “close familial relationship” from the Supreme Court’s decision reinstating the travel ban.

The Supreme Court left in place part of the Ninth Circuit’s injunction blocking the travel ban, allowing those from the the six Muslim-majority countries designated in the president’s Executive Order 13780 to enter the United States if they have a bone fide relationship with someone who resides here.

The State Department quickly issued a guidance limiting that exception to a “parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling” living in the United Sates. Watson found this unexceptable and ruled that the government must continue to allow in fiancés, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A concurrence by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Samuel Alito had predicted exactly this type of litigation when the Court used such general language in reinstating to travel ban. Dale Wilcox, Executive Director of the patriotic immigration law firm Immigration Reform Law Institute, told Breitbart News:

Judge Watson’s latest order was absolutely predictable. Given the failure of Roberts, Kennedy, and the liberal justices to state precisely what they meant by “bona fide relationship”, Watson was able to stretch the term out as much as he wanted.

It’s also exactly what Justices Thomas, Gorsuch and Alito warned about in their concurrence. The others could’ve listened, but didn’t.

“Judge Watson’s order renders the Supreme Court’s decision all but a dead letter,” wrote Center for Immigration Studies’ Andrew Arthur in a Friday post excoriating Watson’s decision.

Arthur went on to explain that this new, imposed definition could include virtually anyone, as it does not even limit itself to first or second cousins. He writes:

Most people fail to realize how many relatives we have … In fact, I have (or had, I don’t keep up) two Facebook friends who are cousins I have never met who live in Swabia. I have looked at their pictures, but had to rely on Google translate to understand what they were saying (my German is not good, and their English is non-existent). But, if they lived in Mogadishu, they could apparently come to the United States thanks to me and Mark Zuckerberg.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose Department of Justice is charged with defending the administration’s definition, made his feelings about the order clear in a Friday press release, saying:

Once again, we are faced with a situation in which a single federal district court has undertaken by a nationwide injunction to micromanage decisions of the co-equal Executive Branch related to our national security.  By this decision, the district court has improperly substituted its policy preferences for the national security judgments of the Executive branch in a time of grave threats, defying both the lawful prerogatives of the Executive Branch and the directive of the Supreme Court. 

 The district court has issued decisions that are entrusted to the Executive Branch, undermined national security, delayed necessary action, created confusion, and violated a proper respect for separation of powers.   The Supreme Court has had to correct this lower court once, and we will now reluctantly return directly to the Supreme Court to again vindicate the rule of law and the Executive Branch’s duty to protect the nation.

The Department of Justice is expected to appeal Watson’s order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, as it did in the case of Watson’s original ruling holding the travel ban unconstitutional.

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